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Whig Party

November 20, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

The Whig Party was a political party formed in 1834 by opponents of President Andrew Jackson and his Jacksonian Democrats. Led by Henry Clay, the name “Whigs” was derived from the English antimonarchist party and and was an attempt to portray Jackson as “King Andrew.” The Whigs were one of the two major political parties in the United States from the late 1830s through the early 1850s. While Jacksonian Democrats painted Whigs as the party of the aristocracy, they managed to win support from diverse economic groups and elect two presidents: William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor. The other two Whig presidents, John Tyler and Millard Fillmore, gained office as Vice Presidents next in the line of succession.

What Did The Whig Party Stand For?

The Whigs were an opposition party formed to challenge Jacksonian Democrats, thereby launching the ‘second party system’ in America, but they were far from a single-issue party. Their ranks included members of the Anti-Masonic Party and democrats who were disenchanted with the leadership of seventh President Andrew Jackson. Their base combined unusual bedfellows: Evangelical Protestants interested in moral reform, abolitionists and those against the harsh treatment of Native Americans under Andrew Jackson in his rush to expand the country’s borders. In 1830, Jackson had signed the Indian Removal Act, but then ignored it’s tenants when he forced thousands of Choctaw to journey to Indian Territory on foot in what became known as “The Trail of Tears.”

Some Whig leaders used anti-party rhetoric, though they were very much a political party on par with the democrats they opposed. Their diverse base meant the Whigs had to be many things to many voters—a delicate balancing act.

Whigs were united in their support of the Second Bank of the United States (an institution Andrew Jackson deplored) and vocal opponents of Jackson’s propensity for ignoring Supreme Court decisions and challenging the Constitution. Whigs generally supported higher tariffs, distributing land revenues to states and passing relief legislation in response to the financial panics of 1837 and 1839. They were not formally an anti-slavery party, but abolitionists had more in common with the Whigs than the pro-slavery Jacksonian Democrats (Jackson was a vocal proponent of slavery and personally owned as many as 161 slaves). As the country hurtled toward Westward expansion, it was the …read more

Source: HISTORY

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How John F. Kennedy Overcame Anti-Catholic Bias to Win the Presidency

November 20, 2019 in History

By Dave Roos

“I am not the Catholic candidate for president,” JFK declared in 1960. “I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic.”

On September 12, 1960, less than two months before Americans would choose the next president of the United States, Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy was in Texas giving a speech to a Houston gathering of Southern Baptist clergy.

This wasn’t a normal campaign stop. Kennedy was Catholic and, at the time, only the second Catholic presidential candidate in U.S. history after Al Smith’s unsuccessful run in 1928. And for a Catholic candidate from New England, a conference of Southern Baptist ministers was considered the “lion’s den,” ground zero for anti-Catholic political rhetoric and even outright bigotry.

JFK: Catholic for President (TV-PG; 2:35)

“[C]ontrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for president,” Kennedy said on live TV in his now famous address. “I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.”

In the late 1950s, Catholic politicians were viewed with open suspicion by many mainline Protestants and Evangelicals. Shaun Casey, director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University, and author of The Making of a Catholic President, says that Catholic candidates were accused of having “dual loyalties” to both the Vatican and the United States.

“The argument was, when push came to shove, a president who was Roman Catholic would ultimately be more loyal to the Vatican because the fate of his eternal soul was at stake,” says Casey. “If Kennedy was elected president, he’d criminalize birth control, he’d cut off foreign aid that helped countries invest in birth control, and he’d funnel tax money to Catholic parochial schools.”

Al Smith Faced More Anti-Catholic Sentiment in 1920s

President Herbert Hoover (left) won the election over Al Smith (right) in 1928.

When Al Smith ran for president in the 1920s, anti-Catholic sentiment was widespread. One political cartoon from the era shows Smith’s “cabinet” as a conference room full of bishops with the Pope sitting at the head of the table. Smith is seen serving the assembled clergy with a jug of “XXX” liquor. One prominent Baptist minister from Oklahoma told his parishioners, “If you vote for Al Smith …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Americans Should Remember the Ninth Amendment

November 20, 2019 in Economics

By James Knight

James Knight

Two hundred and thirty years ago today, on November 20, 1789, New Jersey became the first state to ratify the proposed amendments to the Constitution that we now know as the Bill of Rights. Over the next two years, other states followed suit, culminating in the adoption of the amendments in December of 1791. It almost didn’t happen. Supporters of the Bill of Rights won their opponents over, though, thanks in large part to the inclusion of the Ninth Amendment.

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If you’re straining to remember what you learned in civics class about the Ninth Amendment, you’re not alone. Despite the importance of the rights protected by the first ten amendments to the Constitution, surveys over the past few decades have consistently shown that Americans know little about either the Bill of Rights or the Constitution as a whole.

So what’s in the Bill of Rights? For starters, it’s not long — all together, the ten amendments are only 462 words and could be tweeted out in ten tweets. Those 462 words pack a punch, though, explicitly protecting a broad range of rights, from the freedom of speech to the right to a speedy and public trial. The scope of several of the amendments, such as the Second Amendment and its right to keep and bear arms, remains a hotly contested issue today. Others rarely breach the surface of public discourse — the Third Amendment’s prohibition against illegally housing soldiers in the homes of private citizens has been so effective that it has scarcely ever been litigated.

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The Ninth Amendment falls into the latter category — it barely registers in the public sphere. If the Third Amendment is the least relevant of the Bill of Rights to Supreme Court jurisprudence, then the Ninth Amendment is the second-least relevant. The Supreme Court’s relegation of the Ninth Amendment to the dusty attic of judicial doctrine is odd when you read it, though: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Why We Need State-Based Immigration Visas

November 20, 2019 in Economics

By Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

Reforming the immigration visa system is crucial for the future of the United States. Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah), backed by Utah’s Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, just introduced a bill to create a state-based visa system. Based on an earlier version introduced by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) in 2017, Curtis’ bill adopts a major component of the Canadian immigration system: visas sponsored by individual states, rather than the federal government.

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Under the legislation, the federal government maintains control over admissions, security checks and other necessary criteria while the state governments gain power to select individual migrants and regulate their activity within the state. Each state would get an average of 10,000 visas a year, 5,000 guaranteed for each state and an additional number assigned based on population.

Under this bill, states could create visas that don’t exist under the federal system. California might create a state visa for high-tech entrepreneurs, Wisconsin would create one for dairy workers, and Utah could attract tourism entrepreneurs. Texas may want oil-rig workers and Michigan could attract real-estate developers for Detroit.

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No federal visa currently exists for those types of workers, entrepreneurs and investors; the state-based visa bill would allow states to create them or others we haven’t even considered. There could be hundreds of different economic visas adapted to local economies rather than just a handful of temporary federal visas for some occupations.

Under the proposal, how states decide whom to sponsor for a visa is left entirely up to them, but they would likely seek input from stakeholders such as labor unions, businesses, community groups, city governments, farmers and others. States would decide how long the visa lasts, how often it would be renewed, and these visas wouldn’t subtract from the number of visas available through the federal immigration system.

Curtis said that “neighboring states share commonalities that don’t end at lines on a map.” The state-based visa bill explicitly allows states to sign compacts with each other to share state-sponsored migrants. For example, the western states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Weird Scenario That Pits President Pelosi Against Citizen Trump in 2020

November 20, 2019 in Economics

By Josh Blackman, Seth Barrett Tillman

Josh Blackman and Seth Barrett Tillman

Assume that President Donald Trump is impeached and removed from office. At that point, Mike Pence would become president. The position of vice president would remain vacant until Congress confirmed a replacement, nominated by the president.

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This shift in positions could result in a very unlikely possibility: If, prior to the confirmation of a new vice president, President Pence were to become unable to discharge the office, then Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, would assume the office of the president under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947.

Or would she? Two prominent constitutional-law professors contended in 1995 that the Succession Act now in force is unconstitutional. And a recent New York Times op-ed agreed: Legislators, such as the speaker of the House, cannot be elevated to the presidency, the thinking goes.

This theory, if correct, risks throwing the United States and the entire free world into a state of chaos. The speaker and the secretary of state (the next-in-line, nonlegislative officer) could both claim, with some legitimacy, to be president. Bush v. Gore would be tame by comparison.

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A better reading of the Constitution, however, gives Congress the power to place Nancy Pelosi second in line for the presidency. But, as we’ll get to below, that same reading has an unexpected implication: Contrary to common belief, after removing the president from office, the Senate cannot disqualify him from being elected to the White House a second time.

Our analysis starts with the succession clause in Article II of the Constitution. The Constitution specifies that the vice president serves when the presidency goes vacant. But what happens if both positions go vacant, a so-called double vacancy? The Constitution’s succession clause states: “Congress may by Law … [declare] what Officer shall then act as President.” And Congress has done just that: The Presidential Succession Act places …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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"Mini Schengen" — Western Balkans' Embrace of the Market

November 20, 2019 in Economics

By Tanja Porčnik

Tanja Porčnik

French President Emmanuel Macron’s spearheaded opposition to block European Union accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia during the European Council’s recent meeting in October. By doing so, he is not only dangerously and severely undermining the credibility of the EU accession process. He is also indicating to the non-EU countries in the Western Balkans and elsewhere that their future lies solely in their hands, as that they cannot rely on the European Union to support them in their efforts to strengthen institutions, reform public policies and further liberalize economies.

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As shocking this political development has been for many, the Western Balkans should not waste any sleep over what outgoing European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker sees as a “major historic mistake”. The EU Council President Donald Tusk also feels “really embarrassed” by what happened. The Western Balkan countries already have plans for bold and deep institutional reforms that will not only liberalize and deliver a boost to their economies, but will also, most importantly, significantly improve the level of freedom enjoyed by the people in the region. In this context, six non-EU Western Balkan countries have been in talks since July 2018 to create a single market of 20 million people, with the aim to increase freedom of movement and freedom to trade internationally. The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, which has so far invested 10 billion euros in the region, has publicly endorsed the creation of a regional economic area in the Western Balkans.

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Last month, three Western Balkan countries, Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia announced that they will be moving ahead with a so-called “mini Schengen,” and keep the door open for three remaining Western Balkan countries, which have been hesitant to join, primarily due to unresolved political issues. At a time when …read more

Source: OP-EDS